Patient Stories

An Alive Love Story

With the support of community members like you, we are able to provide extraordinary services to our patients and their loved ones. As President/CEO of Alive, I witness many of these episodes as they unfold. I was very touched by this love story, which your donations helped make possible. –Anna-Gene O’Neal

The Residence at Alive Hospice may seem an unlikely setting for a profound love story, but for former high school sweethearts Ann and Gerry, it was perfect. All they needed was each other.

Ann and Gerry dated in high school, and then followed separate paths into the world. When they reunited by chance in their 60’s, they knew they never wanted to separate again. They spent the next 23 years building a beautiful life together.

When Ann was hospitalized, Gerry followed within days. The worst part was that they were in different hospitals. His fragile health declined rapidly without Ann by his side. When Alive staff members learned what had happened, they made special arrangements to reunite Ann and Gerry. They then did everything possible to let the couple focus solely on one another. Ann and Gerry spent their final days together, hand in hand, at the Alive Hospice residence in Nashville. In death, they were separated by only 15 hours.

We want to share these kind words of appreciation from their children with you; this is what your support makes possible:
To say that your staff is amazing is an understatement. Everyone took a sincere interest in our parents and in their comfort. They truly went above and beyond and went so far as to allow us to rearrange the room, so that they could be next to each other. In their 23-year marriage, they were rarely apart, so it was a beautiful tribute to their love to put them together in a loving and comfortable environment.

Lifetime Notre Dame Fan Gets Bucket List Visit

Man holding Notre Dame flagWhen Donnie’s nurse found out that he was a lifetime Notre Dame football fan, she decided to help him fulfill part of his bucket list. Knowing he had only a few weeks left at most, she worked fast to arrange a Facetime visit with C.J. Sanders, Notre Dame’s wide receiver, and a couple of his teammates. Donnie was beyond thrilled to connect with the team he had been rooting for since he was a child.

For Sanders, the experience was inspiring too. “It was awesome to see how he carried himself. No matter what he was going through, he had a big smile on each Facetime call.”

Their final Facetime call took place on the day of Donnie’s death. His wife still remembers how happy it made him. It was Donnie’s wish to be buried in Notre Dame attire, and the team helped out again by sending various items with Notre Dame logos.

Tele-Hospice Program Brings Wedding to Mom

When we launched our Tele-Hospice pilot program last fall, we had no idea patients would use their iPads for everything from making friends at our call center to Facetime tuck-ins with volunteers to wedding parties at our Nashville residence.

Alive has always been great, but this went above and beyond!

We predicted faster service and better emergency care. Yet, less than a year in, the results have already been more wonderful than we could have imagined!

For example, a quick-thinking Alive team ensured that a mother and father didn’t have to miss their daughter’s wedding. With iPads at the wedding and in the patient’s room, the family was reunited for the beautiful event. Laughter, hugs, and tears filled their room at our Nashville residence.

We look forward to our stage-two roll-out of 120 additional iPads. We are so very thankful for generous support from the West End Home Foundation, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and the Memorial Foundation to bring this new technology and enhanced care to our community.

Thank you from the bride, Brooklynn

“We were scheduled to get married at noon, and I called Alive in the morning to see if we could do a ‘mock wedding’ later that day for my mom to see. The nurse called me back 15 minutes later and said she was working on a better idea and just needed to know the location of our wedding. Twenty minutes after that phone call ended she called back to explain that someone from Alive would be coming to Murfreesboro to livestream the wedding to my mom in Nashville. 

As promised, a team member from Murfreesboro came to me, and another team member in Nashville sat in my mom’s room with her and my dad, and they watched the real thing through livestream. Alive has always been great, but this went above and beyond!”

Olympians Pay Special Visit to Teen

Olympian soccer player Desmond Armstrong and his friend Tarik Ramusovic, an Olympic skier and co-founder of Boost FitClub, recently made a visit to a young sports enthusiast at Alive. The connection they formed during their brief stay impacted them at least as much as the patient.

It changes you. You go there to help them, but they also help you. It was inspiring to see his strength.

This was their first hospice visit, and neither was sure what to expect when they entered the teen’s room. They entered cautiously and were surprised and delighted by the enthusiasm that greeted them. “It’s Desmond!” called out the patient, an avid soccer fan who was thrilled to see his hero.

“As depressing as it might seem, it is truly a give-and-take,” Rumosovic said. “It changes you. You go there to help them, but they also help you. It was inspiring to see his strength.”

Desmond noticed a Bible beside the bed and asked if he could share his favorite psalm. “I shared Psalm 139 with him. It was a connection we were able to make that was deeper than just soccer. I hope it encouraged the patient and the family,” Armstrong said.

“I myself am a refugee so I was able to connect with the family in that way. It was a very meaningful experience,” Ramusovic said.

Armstrong and Rumosovic will be back to Alive and want to encourage others to do the same. “Just your presence and attention mean something and make an impact,” Armstrong said.

A Mother’s Last Wish

At Alive, we do everything possible to make wishes come true for our patients and their families. We recently had a patient under our care who had emigrated from Egypt. Her son was still living in Egypt, and he was desperately trying to get a visa to visit his mother before she passed.

Alive employees made it their mission to get him here in time. The social worker on the patient’s care team called Senator Bob Corker’s office every day until the visit was approved. The son made it to his mother’s bedside, and she died less than 24 hours later. Her team of caregivers felt she was holding on to see him one last time.

Your generous financial support makes it possible for our staff to go above and beyond.